OCALA- The College of Central Florida women's basketball team has the opening conference result it has missed in recent years.
Thais Oliveira finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds, six blocks and four assists, as the Patriots (15-4) won their Mid-Florida Conference opener for the first time in five years with a 67-57 victory over Hillsborough Community College.
Oliveira made 11-of-21 shots for the Patriots, ranked No. 6 in the state.
CF used a 10-0 run down the stretch to knock off the depleted Hawks (9-9), who dressed just five players for the game.
CF couldn't shake the Hawks, who lost their fifth straight game.
The Patriots jumped out to an early nine -point lead, as HCC missed 13-of-14 shots to start the contest.
From there, CF saw HCC take its first lead of the game with 57 seconds remaining in the opening half.
Rocha's 3-pointer 12 seconds after the Hawks' first edge, however, gave the Patriots the lead for good and carried them to a 34-31 halftime lead.
HCC got as close as two early in the second half, before Brianna Mann keyed a 10-0 run that ended any chance of an upset.
CF held the Hawks without a field goal for a span of 6:15 in the second half, as it turned up the tempo to gain some much-needed breathing room.
The Patriots held HCC to 19-of-77 shooting, aided by an 11-of-38 effort from 3-point range.
The Hawks also made just 8-of-15 free throws, but did force 19 turnovers and outrebounded CF 47-46, thanks to a 27-12 edge on the offensive glass.
Camary Williams, the leader of HCC's three-guard offense, finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds and five steals. Williams ended the game with 11 offensive rebounds.
CF has now won the last two meetings with the Hawks in Ocala and closed the series to 7-6 since HCC joined the Mid-Florida Conference.
The Patriots visit rival Santa Fe on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. The Saints lost their conference opener to two-time defending champion FSC-Jacksonville.